Evers declares “all-out war on this virus” with $1.5 billion in combined state and federal expenditures.

$1.17 billion from the federal CARES Act will supplement $335 million in state funding as Wisconsin battles the coronavirus. Photo: Ron Cogswell, licensed under creative commons.

Author: Sam Buisman

Wisconsin will pour over $1.5 billion of combined federal and state funding into COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and grants for local health departments.

According to a press release from Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin will invest $1.17 billion in funds that it received from the federal CARES Act along with an existing $335 million in state funds into its statewide testing and contact tracing program, aiming to provide a test at no cost to every Wisconsinite that needs one. Additionally, over a hundred million of these dollars will be used to purchase personal protective equipment and ventilators for health care works, while tens of millions will be given out as hiring grants to local health departments.

In a press release, Governor Evers described these measures as necessary, expert-driven decisions to keep Wisconsinites healthy.

“As I’ve said before, regardless of the political overtones of the past week, we still know what we need to do to box in this virus and help keep people safe,” said the Governor. “Wisconsin’s Safer At Home order may have ended, but our all-out war on this virus has not.”

Of these federal funds, $202 million will be spent on COVID-19 test kits to sustain Wisconsin’s testing infrastructure. According to the Office of the Governor, this amount of money will allow the state to continue to provide Wisconsinites COVID-19 tests at no costs at its target rate of 85,000 tests per week.

The state will also grant $45 million of the federal funds to local and tribunal health departments to fund pilot testing programs, planning updates and coordination efforts with other health departments. Tens of millions in state funds will be used to purchase ventilators and PPE for Wisconsin health care workers.

Lastly, driven by concerns the lifting of the Safer At Home order may cause a resurgence in patients and overwhelm Wisconsin’s health care infrastructure, $445 million will be used to fortify hospital systems for a summer or fall surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to the Department of Health Services, there are currently 12,885 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, 541 of which are in Dane County.